About the Country
- Population: 24 million
- Capital city: Caracas (pop. 5m)
- Time difference: -4 hours GMT
- Language: Spanish
Venezuela is a dramatic country of extremes. Its history has been chequered with periods of political turbulence and (oil-generated) extreme opulence. Geographically it has been blessed with a glorious Caribbean coastline, snowy Andean peaks, untouched jungle and prairies teeming with wildlife.
The legacy of the oil-boom years includes an infrastructure that makes Venezuela an easy country to get around. A network of fast (if increasingly pot-holed) roads, and frequent flights means that within a relatively short stay a visitor can enjoy a wide variety of activities.
Venezuela's culture is largely influenced by its North American neighbors - there is a passion for baseball and beauty pageants, fast-food and shopping malls. But in the countryside life has scarcely changed in centuries, and the people are friendly and welcoming to tourists.
Sunbathe beneath the palms of a golden beach, hike or bike in the Andes, canoe between Indian villages in the sinuous waterways of the Orinoco delta, and view the magnificence of the Angel falls in the vast 'Lost World' tableland.